Progressive House Reviews

Walkboy – Solves EP (Blendwerk)

Blendwerk hits its 10th release, and serves up a four-track EP of dark, experimental techno and electronica from Siberian producer Walkboy.

‘Solves’ floats into existence with airy pads, gentle percussion, and understated bass tones. A short breakdown introduces a rippling, plucked hook, underpinned now by a gently pulsing bassline and topped with chiming piano. It’s unlikely to be a floor-filler, but it’s a good headphones-moment that nicely pulls together all of its elements for a dreamy finale.

‘Single Tone’ starts out in a similar vein, with mournful brass and lonely bleeps, but it’s soon enriched with flourishes of Spanish guitar as the bassline goes for a walk. What follows is a slightly unstructured meander which fuses elements of deep house and melodic techno together into something very strange indeed. But while it doesn’t really go anywhere, the journey’s pretty enjoyable, and it’s great to hear something so unique and experimental that manages to be compelling and interesting rather than unlistenable.

‘Noski’ is all awkward timings, twisted beeps and bleeps, and warped pianos, with the occasional cello flourish, before a warbling, acidic melody takes centre-stage. The main breakdown lost me a bit, dissolving into some harsh, random-sounding noises, but if you can make it through that, the sequence that follows is elegant and beautiful, and carries the track to its close.

‘Parting’ floats melancholy organ melodies over a skippy beat, before working in some distinctive clap and hi-hat rhythms. Sadly, the track takes a rather eerie turn about a minute and a half in, and I couldn’t much enjoy the harsh instrumentation and unnerving sounds that take over, even when the organ made a welcome reappearance. Not for me, I’m afraid.

I was a big fan of Walkboy’s ‘Idle’ EP on Ideological last year, and the same moodiness, rich orchestration, and lovely melodic touch is on display throughout this EP too. It’s not really designed for the dancefloor, and in a couple of places the EP wanted to take me places that I didn’t really want to go. But go in with an open mind, and there’s much to enjoy here, particularly in the first two tracks. 7/10

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